Many people driving around Costa Mesa have never even heard the term “heater core”. You might wonder what a heater core is. To put it simply, it is part of your car’s cooling system. It looks like a miniature version of your radiator, and functions like a small radiator itself. It is responsible for the function of your climate control system’s heater and defroster.
Your heater core works by circulating coolant through tubes within it. The coolant comes in through one heater hose and out of the other, radiating heat into your cabin through the air vents. It is connected to the air conditioning system. In most cars, heater cores are behind the dashboard, under the center or passenger side. They usually are contained in some sort of case or housing, and are not very easy to get to.
How can you tell if your heater core is leaking or going bad? There are a few symptoms which strongly suggest that your heater core has gone bad.
The most common sign is that the inside of your car will suddenly fog up with moist, warm condensation. This is caused by warm coolant leaking into the cabin of your car and evaporating into steam, which coats the windshield and windows. Another sign is a sweet smell inside of your car - coolant smells sweet, and the coolant evaporating into steam would give off a strong noticeable smell inside your car. If you also smell coolant from outside of your car, the leak may be even more serious, and you may be able to see coolant dripping onto the ground from underneath your vehicle.
Another strong sign of a leaking heater core is if your vehicle is suddenly consuming much more coolant than normal. If the leak is serious enough, it may even form a puddle, usually near the front passenger side floor. Another sign of heater core failure is if your heater doesn't work, but this may also happen with several less serious problems, so if your heater isn’t blowing hot air, don’t panic right away. The most important thing to keep an eye on is your engine temperature, because overheating could easily be fatal for your vehicle’s motor.
Heater core replacement is an extremely tedious job in most cars. Not only does it deal with important and delicate components of your engine’s cooling system, but most heater cores are extremely hard to access and will take several hours to replace even by our skilled professionals with specialized tools.
If you suspect that you have a leaky or failing heater core, feel free to call ExperTec Automotive in Costa Mesa today at (949) 645-7722 to set up an appointment. Our team of ASE certified mechanics can fix any of your heater core problems, guaranteed!